Providing Meal Kits
After Ecuador rounded its first full year in the coronavirus pandemic, citizens found themselves struggling to survive. Since the pandemic started in March 2020, the Ecuadorian government has repeatedly failed to protect and care for its citizens. It has been neglecting the sick and dead, spreading rampant misinformation, severely underreporting coronavirus cases, and most recently, allowing corruption to occur in the vaccine rollout. As a result, reports have determined the existence of more than 320,000 coronavirus cases along with nearly 17,000 deaths. Health care facilities have become overrun with desperate families and patients seeking care. As a response, the organization Kahre Org is providing meal kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) in Ecuador to help alleviate the suffering of its citizens.

COVID-19 in Ecuador

The pandemic and the blunt of the Ecuadorian government’s lack of responsibility has fallen upon its citizens, most notably, those living in rural areas. The pandemic has upended rural society and displaced many citizens. Communities lack basic necessities such as meal kits, PPE and education. The government has failed to provide citizens with information about the virus. Moreover, rural Ecuadorians, who are typically farmers, have faced an economic crash. This is because their typical markets and routes have closed to prevent the spread of the virus. Many rural Ecuadorians have had to face a harsh economic situation as they are no longer able to sustain their livelihood.

Kahre Org is providing Meal Kits and PPE in Ecuador

When the initiatives of Kahre Org, a nonprofit organization located in Ecuador, came to a halt at the beginning of the pandemic, they had to readjust their scope of work to suit the new needs that arose. Before the pandemic, Kahre Org offered community outreach. This included providing communities with access to legal services, shelters, education and provisions. The organization has adapted and refocused its efforts to now provide meal kits and PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization started with those in rural Ecuador and continued its efforts to frontline workers and the medical community. Consequently, the Kahre Org minimized food insecurity while also creating additional jobs for impoverished and unemployed individuals.

How it Works

By partnering with the Ecuadorian armed forces, Kahre Org was able to deliver more than 100,000 meal kits across Ecuador. These meal kits offer stability to vulnerable individuals. It meant they could focus on finding employment, recovering from the pandemic or taking care of their families rather than worrying about where their next meals would come from. Along with these meal kits came important medical supplies. This included sanitization products and PPE to further help Ecuadorians stay fed and healthy. As many of these rural communities are far from hospitals and medical care, such protective equipment is extremely important.

Moreover, the Kahre Org saw an opportunity with the pandemic to expand their preexisting Child Food Programme. This initiative provides more than 100 Ecuadorian children with two meals a day. It was able to travel to small, local communities and offer children food to minimize their food insecurity. This simultaneously creates more job opportunities for Ecuadorians who wish to work with the organization.

To further the hard work of the Kahre Org in Ecuadorian communities, the local organization extended its helping hand past rural communities to the frontline workers. The organization managed to provide hundreds of Red Cross workers, government corps, doctors and other health care providers with meal kits.

Looking Ahead

By amassing donations and formulating a thorough response plan, the Kahre Org mobilized and inspired Ecuadorians to give back to their communities. In the process, the organization was able to educate rural Ecuadorians of the dangers of the virus and how to minimize the spread and stay healthy. Through providing meal kits and PPE, thousands of Ecuadorians are receiving the resources they need to fight the pandemic.

– Caroline Largoza
Photo: Flickr

Health Workers in Sub-Saharan Africa
Johnson & Johnson announced a new collaboration in June 2020, to provide training and knowledge to health workers in sub-Saharan Africa in the wake of COVID-19. They will partner with The World Continuing Education Alliance, The Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery East Africa and the International Council of Nurses to provide up-to-date information and resources to those on the front lines of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

The training program will be delivered through an application and aims to reach 600,000 healthcare workers — mainly nurses, doctors and midwives. The program includes six different modules available in three different languages: English, French and Arabic.

Partnering in 10 Different Countries

Johnson & Johnson will fund the programs’ introduction to 10 countries that it deems as a priority. These countries include Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and South Africa. Programs have since become available in Egypt, Haiti, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Jordan, Guyana, Malawi and Tanzania — among others. Furthermore, there is a training option for countries not specifically listed.

Aga Khan University developed the modules and the World Continuing Education Alliance digitized and customized the curriculum. Its website now hosts two options for the workshops: one is for doctors and the other is for midwives and nurses. Through their collaborations with similar and broader-scope organizations, the International Council of Nurses has offered its support. The School of Nursing and Midwifery ensures those professionals in urban and remote areas alike have access to the modules.

Support For Front-Line Healthcare Workers

The new program’s introduction comes as the new coronavirus infections grow across Africa. The virus continues to infect more healthcare workers. While there are still scant resources available about infections among healthcare workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 10,000 health workers have been infected in 40 countries across Africa.

At least 10% of all infections are comprised of health workers in sub-Saharan Africa, concerning four specific countries. In 10 additional sub-Saharan countries, that figure is at least 5%. This puts a strain on the resources these countries have since several countries have less than one medical doctor for every 10,000 people. According to the WHO, countries that fall under this category include Mozambique, Tanzania, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Chad, Central African Republic and Niger — again, among others.

According to the WHO, some of the causes of rising infections among health workers include lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE), lack of education programs (and lack of implementation of such programs with health workers) and lack of medical infrastructure. Additionally, more than 90% of 30,000 healthcare facilities analyzed throughout Africa could not establish quarantine or triage units. According to WHO, 84% of facilities did not have adequate infection and control measures in place.

Training Workers and Providing PPE

As a result, the WHO trained 50,000 healthcare workers and arranged for 41 million tons of PPE to be shipped to 47 countries in Africa. Moreover, the WHO plans to train 200,000 additional workers. The organization notes that from May to July 2020, Sierra Leone went from 16% of all infections being among health workers to just 9%.

Similar to the WHO, Johnson & Johnson’s collaborative effort seeks to educate health workers in sub-Saharan Africa by providing them with the knowledge they need to treat patients and stop the spread of a pandemic.

– Bryan Boggiano
Photo: Flickr